30 June 10
by Lee U-wen
The Business Times
Former remisier king Peter Lim has made the largest ever donation in the history of Singapore sport, pledging $10 million to the three-month-old Singapore Olympic Foundation yesterday.
The funds will be used to nurture young sporting talents by providing scholarships over the next 10 years to athletes and students from the various national sports associations, primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
Deputy Prime Minister and Singapore National Olympic Committee (SNOC) president Teo Chee Hean, who accepted the cheque from Mr Lim yesterday during a simple ceremony, said that the donation alone had met the foundation's initial target of raising $5-10 million in the first year.
'We hope that many successful Singaporeans will share his philanthropic drive and support for sports in Singapore,' he told the media gathered at the Raffles City Convention Centre. It was Mr Teo who launched the foundation in March this year together with visiting International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge.
Mr Lim, who was one of the Republic's leading stockbrokers before leaving the industry in 1996 to become a full-time private investor, is one of the country's wealthiest people with an estimated net worth of US$1.5 billion.
The 57-year-old said that he was not nudged into making the donation, but rather his main motivation was to ensure that talented youths, particularly those from low-income families, are given as many opportunities as possible to develop their strengths. 'I've always felt that sports has been a very neglected area in our society, and funding is needed very much,' he said. 'I hope that this sum of money will not only raise awareness but kick off further funds to come in for this cause.'
He noted that there were many scholarships already available for the academically inclined, but few for those whose talent is in sports. 'Among the existing sports scholarships, many are given out on a performance basis. You don't get the money if you don't win first,' he pointed out.
Explaining how the $10 million will be spent, the foundation's chairman Ng Ser Miang said that a sum of $2.8 million will be set aside for the first year, and subsequently $800,000 for each of the next nine years. 'Over the next few months, we hope to raise another few million dollars, and part of this can be used to support the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) as well,' said Mr Ng, who is also a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee.
Both Mr Ng and Mr Lim were also announced as two of the foundation's seven board of directors. The other five are well-known personalities in the corporate and sporting circles, including Singapore Bowling Federation president Jessie Phua, Member of Parliament and lawyer Michael Palmer, SNOC secretary-general Chris Chan, KPMG managing partner Danny Teoh and financial services veteran Chan Lay Hoon.